Jalmeray – Kingdom of the Impossible
Jalmeray at a glance:
- Alignment: CN
- Capital: Niswan (10,300)
- Notable Settlements: Padiskar (8,200)
- Ruler: Kharswan, Thakur of Jalmeray
- Government: Colonial Princely State
- Languages: Vudrani
- Religion: Irori, elementalism, mysterious eastern religions
For nearly 2,000 years, the Vudrani have controlled this large island nation off the coast of Nex. A gift to the mighty Maharaja Khiben-Sald from the archmage Nex four millennia ago, Jalmeray is the westernmost of Vudra’s so-called Impossible Kingdoms. Here, genies serve humans who live in massive gold and marble palaces, indoor fountains circulate wine instead of water, and sprawling but perfectly symmetrical monasteries of Irori instruct hundreds of skilled monks. Everything in Jalmeray seems, at least to those few visitors from other Inner Sea nations, much larger and far grander.
Roughly 4 millennia ago, Khiben-Sald, greatest Maharaja of the eastern empire of Vudra, arrived at Quantium in a fleet of 101 exotic ships. The bizarre foreigners — at this time wholly unknown in the Inner Sea region — became fixtures in the court of Nex, and Vudrani culture influenced the art and dress of the nation. Nex granted Khiben-Sald’s traveling court dominion and erected dozens of temples to their strange gods, attracting a wide variety of heretofore undiscovered elemental creatures to the isle in an effort to increase its considerable natural beauty and charms.
Distant Vudra became part of the regional sphere, with ships of merchants, prophets, and explorers regularly appearing over the horizon of the Obari Ocean. When Khiben-Sald finally returned to his homeland he left behind only a handful of glorious monuments and bound genies as a sign that he had ever been on Jalmeray at all. A few centuries later, Nex himself abandoned Golarion, and several centuries after that the ruling Arclords of Nex fell from grace and were exiled. The shamed Arclords put in at Jalmeray, using the nearby island as a remote outpost from which to subtly influence the affairs of their homeland.
Then, in 2822, alien ships once more appeared on the high Obari and set anchor in the wave-ravaged harbor of Niswan. Hundreds of Vudrani rajahs embarked upon Jalmeray, curiously wondering at the audacity of the Arclords and their perversions of the changes Khiben-Sald had brought to the island. Was he not the greatest maharaja of Vudra, they asked? Did he not dwell upon Jalmeray at the bequest of Nex himself? The Vudrani nobles produced improbable but nonetheless apparently accurate genealogical information proving their familial ties to Khiben-Sald, calmly inviting the Arclords to abandon their ancestral island home. When the stodgy wizards refused, the rajahs summoned an army of marids from the depths of the sea, who battered the island with relentless storms that sank all but one of the Arclords’ ships. More than a millennium after the departure of Maharajah Khiben-Sald, the Isle of Jalmeray once more belonged to Vudra. The Vudrani nobles immediately unsealed their ancient monuments and stirred their otherworldly guardians to life.
The many impossible splendors of Jalmeray, while certainly spoken of by those who see them, are less well-known across Avistan and Garund than the island nation’s monastic orders, of which there are dozens. The three greatest monasteries on the island — collectively known as the Houses of Perfection — constantly spread word throughout the Inner Sea region of a new form of physical and mental discipline from the distant East. All who can survive the journey are welcomed to venture to Jalmeray and endure a series of seemingly impossible challenges. Those who pass all the challenges are accepted in one of the Houses of Perfection, where they develop physical mastery, spiritual balance, and an unusual magic of the opened mind.
The challenge has stood for centuries, and those willing to brave a race against a djinn, wrestle a dao, and outwit an efreet are accepted into the monastic orders of wondrous Jalmeray to learn the secret arts of a distant people. Few residents of the Inner Sea understand these strange disciplines or the even stranger folk who teach them, but the adherents of the Impossible Kingdom command respect — if not trust — throughout the nations of the Inner Sea. Wealthy merchants, powerful aristocrats and cunning war-leaders occasionally send their youngest sons and daughters to Jalmeray to be trained in the legendary fighting techniques of the Monastery of Untwisting Iron, the Monastery of Unfolding Wind, or the Monastery of Unblinking Flame. These children, often form bonds upon the Isle that transcend the mortal concerns of their earthly parents. Upon being accepted, they become Students of Untwisting Iron, Students of Unfolding Wind, or Students of Unblinking Flame.
Even those who fail Jalmeray’s legendary challenge might find a lesser monastery or willing instructor to instruct them in one of the disciplined fighting styles known to monks, assuming they prove themselves worthy of such attentions during their trials. Those who prove themselves unworthy are respectfully asked to leave the island — once — after which they are forced off.
Once a decade, the three Houses of Perfection of Jalmeray meet in friendly competition. Their best apprentices, students, and masters test against one another in a grand tournament that measures knowledge of history, sword-play, unarmed fighting technique, archery, mastery of the self, arcane ability, and more esoteric strengths.
Events are hosted across the island. The three monasteries each give tests of cunning, speed, and skill at all tasks, while the Thakur and his Maurya-Rahm advisors sponsor many more, including the Solemn Sky Duel of Masters. Those who dwell within the Monastery of Untwisting Iron are the reigning champions of the Challenge of Sky and Heaven, having proven victorious now the past two challenges.
All who venerate Irori, Master of Masters, are welcome to attend the competition and to compete. Those able to overcome any of the many challenges are forever marked as Champions of Sky and Heaven by the steel medallions presented to them.
Kharswan, the smiling Thakur of Jalmeray, understands all too well that his rule extends no further than his voice carries. In truth, it is the ancient mystics, the noble Vudrani families, the strange masters of the monasteries, and the complex ties of duty to the powerful spirits of the Impossible Kingdom itself that command the obedience of the people. Thus, the Thakur graciously allows the day-to-day execution of rule, such as matters of shipping and collection of taxes, to be carried out by the Maurya-Rahm, his vast legions of advisors. Kharswan himself gently occupies the majority of his days tending to his garden and his many wives, reading poetry, and setting his advisors against one another.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting